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Lebanon PM Diab accuses Israel of 'dangerous military escalation', as questions remain over 'Hezbollah clashes' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Lebanon PM Diab accuses Israel of 'dangerous military escalation', as questions remain over 'Hezbollah clashes'

Diab warned Israel against further escalations [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 July, 2020

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It comes after a reported cross-border clash between Hezbollah and Lebanon on Monday.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Tuesday warned Israel about its "dangerous military escalation", after its artillery barrage of Lebanese territory a day earlier, due to an alleged Hezbollah infiltration attempt.

Diab said Israel had violated his Lebanon's sovereignty after firing dozens of shells around the occupied Shebaa Farms area on Monday, claiming it had foiled a planned attack by the Lebanese Islamist movement, which Hezbollah have denied.

"I call for caution in coming days because I fear the situation will deteriorate in light of heightened tensions on our border," Diab said on Twitter.

He accused Israel of trying to "change the rules of engagement", while the Lebanese government had filed a complaint to the UN about the "Israeli assault on the south".

Israel claimed on Monday that a Hezbollah cell had attempted to breach its border, and reported clashes with the Lebanese militants.

Hezbollah has accused Israel of fabricating the incident and said its fighters were not involved in the clashes.

It follows heightened tensions due to concerns in Israel that Hezbollah might retaliate for the killing of one of its fighters in Syria last week.

Israeli reinforcements were sent to its northern border region with Lebanon last week, due to threats from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last year that the next killing of its fighters by Israel would result in retaliation.

Hezbollah's deputy, Naim Qassem, said that the movement would respond to the suspected Israeli airstrike that killed one of its fighters near Damascus, but it would not lead to "all-out war".

Israel Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he would do "everything necessary" to defend the country from Hezbollah attacks. 

"We will do everything necessary to defend ourselves and I suggest to Hezbollah that it take that simple fact into account. Israel is prepared for any scenario," Netanyahu said.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a bloody and destructive war in 2006, which resulted in hundreds of Lebanese civilian deaths and with both sides claiming victory.

Since then, Hezbollah and Israel have avoided a direct confrontation, particularly as the Lebanese movement remains bogged down in the Syria war.

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